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Soft Skills & Bad Apples at SNW

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Storage Networking World (SNW) -- If you want a successful IT management career, you should sharpen your skills and get rid of the bad apples on your team. This was the warning from career development experts at the SNW trade show here today.

"I know a lot of people that think that [developing business and communication skills] is a bunch of crap, and that's baloney," warned Howard Goldstein, principal of analyst firm HGAI, during a career development presentation this morning. "Spending the same amount of time on a soft skill [as a technical skill] can give you an exponential benefit."

These sentiments were echoed by another speaker, Patty Then, principal product manager for storage recovery management at CA Inc. (NYSE: CA). "The communication side tends to be the glue to making things successful," she told Byte & Switch. Projects often fail for simple reasons, she said, such as forgetting to plan for future storage needs.

"In today's business world you have to have soft skills if you want to succeed and retain your employees," agreed Douglas Overfelt, who manages the launch processing system at the Kennedy Space Center. "There's a lot more jobs than individuals, especially in this market."

The exec told Byte and Switch that he makes a real effort to understand his 35-strong staff of ITers. "You can't just look at the work they are doing, you have to look at them as individuals," he explained. This can be particularly important when dealing with younger IT professionals, he said.

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